What is Hypnosis? Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness, involving decreased peripheral awareness, focused attention, and an increased ability to respond to verbal suggestion. It is a trance-like state that can be induced from a variety of methods, including the use of drugs, alcohol, diet, or sleep. The term hypnosis can also be applied to a variety of suggested activities such as physical activities, or work or sports. A good hypnotherapist can effectively create a hypnotic state by developing an effective agenda for the client.

When describing what is hypnosis, the term “hypnotism” is commonly employed. Hypnotism describes a process in which an individual enters a hypnotic trance state. Common methods of inducing hypnosis are through hypnotic induction (i.e., the introduction of predetermined suggestions into the mind), verbal suggestion, or through progressive relaxation. Hypnosis can be used to: enhance a state of wellness, solve the complicated issues of childhood abandonment, alleviate the debilitating effects of cancer or Alzheimer’s, manage chronic pain, create a loving and committed relationship with a long lost loved one, improve one’s golfing performance, alleviate sleep disorders, and induce drowsiness.

In addition to the four basic characteristics of hypnosis, there are three additional common characteristics of hypnosis, each related to its occurrence in our daily lives. Hypnosis can be voluntary (i.e., the result of deliberate self-induced suspension of critical thinking and/or judgment); it can be involuntary (i.e., the result of reaction to a stimulus) or it can occur without conscious effort on the part of the subject. Some people are more susceptible to hypnosis than others, but anyone may experience hypnosis at some time in their lives. Hypnosis can be useful for removing unwanted habits and behaviors, developing a sense of empowerment and personal mastery, resolving personal problems, developing confidence and self-esteem, and increasing self-awareness and self-observation.